The U.S. study, carried out by the Department of Urology, University of California–San Francisco, looked at nearly 4,000 men: 2,774 cyclists, 539 swimmers, and 789 runners.
The belief that cycling is bad for men came from the idea that pressure from the seat could lead to urinary problems or even sexual dysfunction.
The men were given surveys that asked questions about their urinary and sexual health. Answers were compared between cyclists, swimmers, and runners. The findings concluded that there were few significant differences between the cyclists and non-cyclists.
Sexual and urinary health were examined among the participants. The study cannot prove that cycling leads to urinary or sexual problems or the other way around. For example, men with urinary problems may not take part in cycling for fear of needing to urinate.
Additionally, the survey may be lacking in men who experience sexual problems, as they may be less inclined to answer such personal questions.
On one hand, the study did not prove that cycling leads to urinary and sexual problems, but it also doesn’t refute it.
The researchers concluded, “Cyclists had no worse sexual or urinary functions than swimmers or runners, but cyclists were more prone to urethral stricture. Increased time standing while cycling and a higher handlebar height were associated with lower odds of genital sores and numbness.”
Cycling is still seen as a good way to exercise and stay active. If you’re concerned about sexual or urinary problems, you should speak to your doctor.
Emily Lunardo is a reporter for Bel Marra Health where this article was originally published.